It is the slide manufacturer's requirement. That is usually not good enough because their chilren are incredible swimmers. Then I explain that industry standard has the slide height 6 inches abover your catch pool thus our facilities catchpool is 42 inches so the slide is 48 inches. They don't want to hear all this anyways.
I usually say that despite factors such as their swimming ability, or their siblings height that because the child is under the height requirement specified by the manufacturer that if something SHOULD happen to their child that our insurance will not cover any injuries that might occur. I also frequently reference an article I read a couple of years ago that highlighted the risk of head trauma due to a shorter than intended person moving through a sharp turn in a slide and impacting their head. These two arguments work almost all the time :)
I know a lot of our customers get this sort of question on a daily basis. In many cases, they'll make mention of requirements placed on them by their insurance carrier.
The message is usually something like, "I understand your question/frustration. Unfortunately, our insurance carrier has strict requirements that we must adhere to in order to maintain our coverage. Failing to enforce these rules would lead to an increase in our premiums and ultimately an increase in membership costs/ticket prices."
This tactic allows lifeguards or supervisors to deflect blame while maintaining the importance of following the rules.
I know of aquatics directors also taking this route when clearing the water during thunderstorms, swim testing, and parent supervision requirements.
Good comments everyone, as to always take the manufacture's recommendation consideration, (and I am with you on that background), insurance policies, your local/sate bathing code, and also look further into the guidelines and requirements from the World Waterpark Association.
We just advise the customer that the manufacturer recommended the height to protect those smaller than 48" from flipping to a back first entry. This is a safety feature to protect them and enhance their enjoyment of the facility. I hope that helps. Dave Bucher, City of Tempe, AZ
Thanks David, I really appreciate you taking the time to add your comment. My purpose for adding this was to generate discussion for a topic that is increasing in frequency and its nice to see consistency.
Every once in a while you'll get a guest who isn't satisfied with that answer. They'll say their child is a great swimmer, been on rides like this at other parks, want to sign a waiver or they've paid 'good' money (I've never seen bad money). Their anger and energy usually makes the the child more upset than they would have been.
Andrew..exactly! There is always that 3-7% of folks who want it there way till something bad happens and then freak out. When we hit the wall we typically pull out the free passes or comp them a tube to placate them and not lose their patronage. At times I just put on my most somber face and tell them my job is to ensure that your child has a fun and safe time here at this pool and that I am going to do all in my power to make that happen however putting your child in an unsafe situation is something I just will not do or allow. My commitment is to have the child leave with smiles and not with emergency services." Usually that no-nonsense speech brings home the seriousness of my commitment to the parent and the potential danger that can lurk in ANY well trained and guarded facility. That has worked for me for the parent really gets my emptional tone. I have never had a parent contest me after that "come to the lord" conversation I have with them. Good question sir and thank you for posting it. Dave Bucher